45% of Central Coast bottle shops didn't check the ID of young customers in a 2016 survey.

"I think it's kind of ridiculous how often I don't get asked for ID" said teen secret shopper Corey Brown with the alcohol he purchased without showing an ID


 

How big a problem is retail supply of alcohol to under 18s? 

What are the fines and penalties for retail supply of alcohol to under 18s? 

Resources to help retailers avoid underage sales

Information on alcohol and young people

Letters to Central Coast bottle shops from the Local Health District, both Local Area Police Commands and NSW Liquor and Gaming -
(2016)
(2015)

Bottle shop underage sales in the media 


How big a problem is retail supply of alcohol to under 18s?

Alarmingly, young people 15-17 years, who shouldn't have access to alcohol, are second only to 18 to 24 year olds for emergency department presentations for alcohol related injury.1 So where are they accessing the alcohol?

Sales to underage people from packaged liquor outlets may be the main source of alcohol for the riskiest underage drinking. Extrapolating NSW High School Survey data indicates more than 250 Central Coast teenagers aged 16 and 17 years purchase their own alcohol weekly from a retail source, the vast majority from packaged liquor outlets. Additionally, these underage purchasers potentially represent a significant supply source to the more than 1200 Central Coast 16 and 17 year olds who report being given alcohol by a friend or having another person purchase it for them weekly.2

Friends or acquaintances are the most common source of alcohol for 12–17 year olds (45.4%).3 Parents are also a reasonably common source (29.3%)3 of alcohol supply to underage people and need to be aware that there are no safe levels of alcohol consumption for underage people. However, young drinkers who access alcohol from their parents drink less on average and are more likely to be supervised.4

Under 18s who purchase their own alcohol are not only a supply source for other young people, they are also the heaviest underage drinkers, consuming on average twice as much as teenagers who are given alcohol.4

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What are the fines and penalties for retail supply of alcohol to under 18s?

Retailers found guilty of selling alcohol to a minor face substantial penalties, including fines of up to $11,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment, as well as a strike for venues under the Three Strikes disciplinary scheme.

Commencing in 2015, an escalating sanctions regime created further significant penalties for licensed venues caught selling alcohol to minors. Where the offence is proven, licences can be suspended for up to 28 days for a first offence, increasing to the automatic cancellation of a licence for a third offence in a 12-month period.

A Central Coast bottle shop was the first venue in NSW to be prosecuted under these tough new penalties for selling alcohol to minors. The 2015 prosecution followed a NSW Liquor and Gaming targeted surveillance operation that observed a 17-year-old youth purchasing alcohol from the bottle shop without being asked for age ID. The venue had it's license suspended for a week and was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling $2,250.

NSW Police and NSW Liquor and Gaming will be undertaking continued compliance operations and will be taking a zero tolerance approach to any licensed venues or staff found selling alcohol to minors, as well as any adults caught supplying alcohol to minors illegally through secondary supply.

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Resources to help retailers avoid underage sales

Link to Thanks for Asking poster The Central Coast Local Health District Health Promotion Service consulted with local bottle shop staff and managers to create the 'Thanks for Asking' poster. It demonstrates just how hard it is to pick who is actually older than 18, and reminds staff that the community thank them for always checking ID. Click on the image to download a printable version.

NSW Liquor and Gaming also have a number of resources to assist retailers avoid underage sales. They include;

Link to ID checklist flowchart ID checklist and flowchart encouraging staff to request proof of age ID if a customer looks under 25 and to refuse to sell if an ID is suspect    Link to window decal warning monors of penalties for attempting to purchase alcohol

 


Window sign warning minors of the penalties if they risk trying to purchase alcohol.  

Click on the images to download printable versions.
More resources are available at the NSW Liquor and Gaming website.

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Information on alcohol and young people

Because teenage brains are still developing young people are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends that people under the age of 18 do not drink alcohol at all. Young drinkers are at a greater risk than adult drinkers of risky behaviour and health complications including brain damage and mental health issues. The younger a person commences drinking the more likely they are to develop alcohol related problems later in life.

There is no evidence to support the belief that introducing alcohol to people when they are young teaches responsible drinking. Check out the Myth Busting page of the Alcohol, Think Again website to debunk this and other misconceptions about young people and alcohol.

For more detailed information and references on alcohol and young people visit the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) or Alcohol, Think Again or download the The ADF Fact Sheet

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Bottle shop underage sales in the media

NBN Television News Coverage September 2016

Selection of Newspaper Articles 2015

ABC Central Coast Radio 2015

ABC NSW Radio 2015

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References

1. Health Stats NSW Accessed 05/07/2016
2.
Derived from the Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence. New South Wales School Students Health Behaviours Survey: 2011 Report. Sydney: NSW Ministry of Health, 2013 and Australian Bureau of Statistics  2011 Census of Population and Housing Basic Community Profile (Catalogue number 2001.0) Wyong (10202) and Gosford (10201) B04 age by sex, Count of persons Based on Place of Usual Residence
3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2014). National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013.
4. Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the counter and illicit substances in 2011 Victoria White, Emily Bariola December 2012

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